Ferry's In The Jungle

Ferry's In The Jungle
1 Peter 1:22b "Love one another deeply, from the heart."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wait for it...

We love our little jungle church. Our first visit was a major hit with the girls as they sat on the wooden benches and looked out of the wall-less church to see jungle hills, flying birds and stray dogs. Our return was inevitable and our love for the environment and the people only grew. The guitar is always off tune as is the singing. The transitions choppy. The attendees late. The communion rationed into small portions as the church resources are extremely low. But the love. Oh but the love!! The smiles, the hand shakes, the laughter; sometimes due to the awkward white people and their developing Spanish. Our love has grown.

We've sweated together on many Saturdays building a better foundation for the church, leveling out the land, and more. We've hosted Christmas programs, a Valentines party, cooked food together.  Our little nest wasn't much to look at but it was ours.

Then it happened. A disagreement about the land. Enter a Quito church. Miscommunication between the Quito church leadership and our little church's leadership. Hurt feelings. Confusion. And eventually, the loss of the little plot of land. Mistakes were made and feelings hurt but light was at the end of the tunnel. The neighboring plot of land was in fact ours and we could just rebuild. Wood posts, tin roof, cement floor. 

But "we could just rebuild" were weighty words for our church leadership as they waded through unforgiveness and grief. Cooperating with the very church that had made mistakes was too big of a hurdle. We walked with them; prayed with them; counseled them and told them, "We are with you." We hoped and prayed that over time these words and our consistent presence would help them heal.

For almost 6 months we've been a mobile church meeting in homes as the leadership finds its way. There has been healing on both sides and our Quito brothers have come to serve with us and offered their own resources to help us rebuild. Learning to work together as churches is a zig-zag patterened walk of failure and forgiveness. This dynamic only becomes more complicated when you have a fast-paced city church culture trying to blend and cooperate with slow-paced tribal. But still, we wait for the wound to heal and the hope to rise in our little jungle church leadership. 

We ourselves could push to return to the new land; to stop being mobile; to rebuild. But this wouldn't then be their idea or in the right timing. The still small voice whispers, "Hold it loosely. People over places. Always, people over places." If we pushed our own agenda the foundation of our new church meeting place would be made of half-healed wounds and pressure. We don't want that. So we wait. We wait for the Holy Spirit to do his work and we stay. We stay by their side and continue to say, "We are with you." 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Feliz Navidad y Año Viejo!

It's Christmas-time and it's even better with Jessica here with us!! She bought fake snow and made our morning festive and funny. We love her. 

Jesus got his customary birthday cake and the legos sent from Grandparents in the states were opened with glee. The rest of Christmas Day in Ecuador is always quiet and peaceful with plenty of time to play, read and contemplate the true meaning of this special day. 

We also took our 3rd annual trip to Quito in December to enjoy some cooler weather, restaurants and ice skating. 
Again, more fun with Jess!! 

New Years (or as they call it here Año Viejo - The Old Year) was as fun as ever with yummy food, crafting and making our dolls to burn. Georgia made a "Social Butterfly" to burn. Ha! Ya think she's an introvert? Reese made a bunny to burn in remembrance of her pet bunny who died. (Note - Reese was careful to clarify that she was burning the grief of losing her bunny and NOT the bunny himself. Thanks for clarifying Reese!)

Happy New Years to all our friends! We love you.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sometimes empowerment looks like not going...

As we desire to truly support and raise up local leadership here in Ecuador we are learning that sometimes empowerment looks like not going, or not preaching, or not filling the gap. This is a challenging reality for us at times as not being there, or not sharing, or not filling that gosh-darn gap can be hard!!

Let us tell you a story -- 

We were invited into a tribal village to serve alongside some of our tribal and foreign friends at an annual Christian conference put on BY the Waorani people FOR the Waorani people. 

We were excited about the experience and the opportunity to serve. We were excited to watch tribal people lead a tribal Christian conference for their own people. We were excited to have our girls serve alongside some of their friends who have more experience in this area. The list went on. We were excited.

Then the day came when we were told that there were too many non-tribal people planning to come into the camp and that the presence of too many foreigners would off-set the balance and cause our tribal friends to struggle to balance caring for us and running the conference for their own people. Our presence was going to be more of a hinderance than a help. Naturally, we bowed out and committed to pray.

After processing and praying, we decided that the funds we would have used to fly into the village we would donate to the conference fund to purchase food to feed all the tribal people coming for the conference. Although we were bummed not to be in the mix serving we were pleased that our presence wasn't a hinderance for the tribal to tribal ministry. Sometimes not being seen is the best way we can truly make an impact. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Jessica Is Comin' To Town!!!

Meet Jessica. Gift of God. This lady has been with us for just under a month and already she's added to our lives here in Shell.  Her joy, servant heart and curious spirit is like fresh air.

Jess will be living with us for 6 months to 1 year depending on visa processing. Even this not knowing how long she will stay is a testament to her heart to trust and obey the Lord.

After months of processing and praying we decided Jess would come to live with us and act in an intern-like role. This is loosely defined because much like our own journey to the mission field, Jessica has been given a God-compass in her hand and not a map with an X on it. She's in "God-trust and obey training"; as are we all. We walk together to discover exactly what God has for her during her time with us.

Living abroad is chock full of challenges. Namely, for this pro-active/analytical momma, the fact that Georgia and Reese don't have many godly women speaking into their lives. They have mostly me - mom, homeschool teacher and more. Now, I know God's grace is sufficient and that he is guiding me by the hand as I lead my young but I also know there are gaps; different perspectives, approaches, feedback to be given. 

Enter Jessica!! She's comin' to town and just in time for Christmas!! It feels like a present for us all. A love message from the greatest Giver of them all. He's sharing with us His masterpiece - Jessica. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Investing in the next generation....

Our days are filled with a variety of activities and people. We are noticing a constant flow of younger people who knock on our door and desire to connect. Not only is this enjoyable for us (and challenging for our Spanish-skills as teens and little people tend to speak in slang!!) but it is an investment in the future of Ecuador.

We host movie nights, have meals together and help with homework. We sit on the floor building legos, playing with dolls or dinosaurs, and color pictures. This is a full-family ministry.

Just yesterday a 9 year old friend of ours came over for lunch all by himself. He sat up straight at the table proudly and shared the details of his day. His classmate died the day before and he had a lot of questions.

Many of our tribal friends have be devalued and marginalized. Spending time with them, and even more-so their kids, sends the important message that they are significant and have a future. Something as small as a shared meal can change their perspective, reinforce a positive message sent by another teacher or parent and launch them into a confident future. It's our privilege to walk with them.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Kid Summer Fun!

Georgia and Reese's summer has been busy with ministry work and play. We hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into their daily lives through photos...

Making cupcakes and selling them in the town square

Hauling water for a work crew at our church

Reading at the weekly library time to the younger kiddos

Resting after a short hike into the jungle

Painting class hosted by a short-term visitor

Llama art!

Enjoying our new puppy, Lola

4th of July celebration hosted by a visiting group

Prepping the bars for paint at our CENTA home office

Enjoying the sandy beach at a nearby river

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

3 Waves Make a Big Splash!!

If you've followed our life and ministry you've probably heard us talk about "The Three Waves". These are the "waves" of ministry (foreign, national and tribal) that have entered the Amazon and Lowland Regions of South America. We were able to see these three groups work together to accomplish a task at our small church in the nearby community of Sigcha Puma.

Our pastor, Marco, came by our house and expressed a need for more help to lay a large cement floor in our church. We shared the need with a ministry partner and their visiting team. Enter foreign wave. As church funds are very low due to a lower income church membership, we needed help with donated supplies. Marco spoke with his friend, the mayor, and he donated materials for the project. Enter national wave. The church members put their sweat equity into the project, provided food for the combined work team of 30 people and more. Enter tribal wave. 

This work is hard work and would have taken our small church multiple Saturdays to finish. Together, we were able to complete the project in one day and with each contributing member encouraged. When we work in unity and dependent on one another the work gets done AND deep connections are formed, understanding deepened, misconceptions cleared up and spirits lifted. We are built to live in community but so often we go fast and alone instead of slow and together. A wise person once said, "If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together."

The 3 Waves Team!
Prepping the food for the hard workers
Maito - Fish wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over the fire
Yucca - boiled manioc root for good stomach filling!
Maito in the making by expert chef and dear friend, Emma